M-Audio Firewire 410 | Danny J.
At $400 or less, the M-Audio Firewire 410 is one of the cheapest Firewire audio recording interfaces. It supports 24 bit / 96 kHz audio playback/recording. It has two XLR microphone inputs and eight channel line level outputs. I also like the fact that the unit can be powered from the Firewire bus alone (though it’s probably not a good idea if you are driving two condenser microphones off the Firewire bus). Although I haven’t had the chance to test the SPIF audio stuff it’s good to know that it’s there when I needed. Finally, it has MIDI in/out for those who need it. The bottom line is that it has the speed and feature to serve the need of most home recording studios and pro’s on the road. Because this is my first computer audio recording interface (skipped USB completely), I have nothing to compare the quality of the audio with so I’ll have to get back to the discussion of audio quality after using the unit for a while.
The startup is just a little flaky sometimes. There were a few times that I turn on the unit and my iBook G4 doesn’t see anything connect through Firewire. It might a problem with Mac OS X though. Restarting the computer would fix the problem. (Remember to disconnect any firewire device when restarting your computer, doesn’t matter what is connected!) All the inputs/outputs are UNBALANCED. I wish they are balanced I/O but at given that the unit is targeted primarily for high end consumers, not professionals, it’s really not a big deal. The FW410 is meant to be used with a computer so it can’t be used without a computer unlike the MOTO 828 MKII, if you desire computer independent operation, this is not what you want.
Solid construction, have only had it for a few days so can’t say much about reliability yet. It feels good though.
The M-Audio Firewire 410 is an amazingly well conceived and executed product targeted at musicians and audiophiles desiring Firewire audio without the associated high price tag. It’s ideal for stereo recording in a home studio setup and to take with on the road. Highly recommended! I would give the M-Audio Firewire 410 a 4.5/5 because it’s almost perfect. I might write a follow-up review once I have used it for a while.